Ag Department Demonstrates Rapid Response Plan to Treat Kudzu in State

HARRISBURG – The Department of Agriculture today outlined its new invasive species management plan for treating kudzu, an invasive, climbing vine that has become a weed problem in some regions of Pennsylvania.

“Kudzu grows over and around other plants, creating a problem for property owners. The weed can also carry a destructive fungus known as soybean rust, which can be devastating to crops,” said Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff. “Through early detection, rapid response and restoration, the invasive species management plan helps us to aggressively treat affected areas.”

For the past two years the Invasive Species Council has been working to develop both the terrestrial and aquatic management plans, which form the basis of the state’s planning and response to invasive plant species. The terrestrial invasive species management plan, demonstrated today, outlined the funding, coordination and cooperation required to eradicate invasive species, such as kudzu.

In 2006, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture received $50,000 to fund the state’s pilot kudzu eradication program and, by the end of last year, 23 locations had enrolled. The goal of the eradication program is to treat sites for three consecutive years, helping property owners in controlling the weed while monitoring the weed’s spread and decline throughout the state.

Introduced from Asia, kudzu is a climbing vine identified by alternating leaves, purple flowers and fuzzy brown seed pods which appear in the fall. Kudzu was added to the state’s noxious weed list in 1989.

The invasive species management plan developed by the Invasive Species Council is a comprehensive approach on how to address any invasive species and includes risk assessment, rapid response, control and restoration, prevention, early detection, monitoring and data management, research, key personnel and funding, and education and outreach objectives.

Findings of kudzu should be reported to the department’s toll-free hotline, 1-877-464-9333. For more information on kudzu and other noxious weeds, visit here and click on “Animal and Plant Health.” For more information on the Pennsylvania Invasive Species Council, visit here.

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